This June, Gerard Gallant and the Vegas Golden Knights will be selecting some team-mates for Reid Duke, and on June 18 we will be able to see which players each team protected and which will find out that they’re not the favorite child.
In the sections that follow, Carl Landra, Joe Martini and Mike Laybourne bring you their selections for who the second lot of 7 teams eliminated from the NHL playoffs will protect, and who they’ll leave exposed in the upcoming expansion draft. You can read about the first 7 here. But first, the rules.
The most basic rules of who can and cannot be protected for the Golden Knights expansion draft are as follows. The full rules can be found here on NHL.com:
Clubs will have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:
a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender
All players who have currently effective and continuing “No Movement” clauses at the time of the Expansion Draft must be protected.
All first- and second-year professionals, as well as all unsigned draft choices, will be exempt from selection.
Now, onto the selections.
Buffalo Sabres (Joe)
Watching Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews make it into the playoffs, it must be painful for Jack Eichel to be watching from his couch (almost as painful as missing out on a 2 million dollar bonus). With the 5th worst record in the league; losing some pieces may not be the worst thing for a franchise which has already done away with its head coach and GM. There’s some rebuilding to be done in Buffalo.
Carolina Hurricanes (Mike)
It’s difficult to pick who to save with some teams. The Hurricanes, however, were pretty easy. Most of the squad is already exempt. The choices made were about keeping the better parts of the jigsaw together. Choosing which goalie to save was slightly more difficult as Ward and Lack’s numbers were hard to separate. Youth won out in this instance. Neither goalie has been exceptional, but Lack shows more promise over the long run.
|Jordan Staal||Joakim Nordstrom||Sebastian Aho|
|Jeff Skinner||Andrej Nestrasil||Noah Hanifin|
|Victor Rask||Phillip Di Giuseppe||Jake Bean|
|Justin Faulk||Cam Ward||Jaccob Slavin|
|Elias Lindholm||Daniel Altshuller||Jake Chelios|
Florida Panthers (Joe)
The team who this time last year was gearing up for the playoffs is on the outside looking in this year. The Panthers, like their state rival the Tampa Bay Lightning, missed key players for long stretches of time and that sunk them. The toughest decision will be in net but in this writer’s eyes I have to expose the one more likely to be taken to avoid losing another player.
|Aleksander Barkov||Derek MacKenzie||Dryden Hunt|
|Nick Bjugstad||Colton Sceviour||Linus Hultstrum|
|Vincent Trocheck||Jason Demers||Adam Wilcox|
|Jussi Jokinen||James Reimer|
Los Angeles Kings (Carl)
After missing the playoffs for the second time in three years the Los Angeles Kings cleaned house in the front office, firing General Manager Dean Lombardi and Head Coach Darryl Sutter. An aging roster that doesn’t fit well with the speed game being played currently in the NHL, the Los Angeles Kings do not have an abundance of players that they would be sad to lose in the expansion draft. The biggest question that they must ask themselves is, do they protect former captain Dustin Brown or defenseman Brayden McNabb. Answering that question will force the finer details of who is and is not protected.
New York Islanders (Carl)
The New York Islanders missed the playoffs by a mere point this season, making the season certainly more disappointing than the team would hope for. With an offseason filled with trying to re-sign John Tavares and finding another new arena to play hockey in, the Isles also need to protect players in the expansion draft. The Islanders have a collection of veteran forwards making considerable money and depth on defense, making them a perfect team for the Golden Knights to select a forward (or Jaroslav Halak if they believe he’s not done) from.
Philadelphia Flyers (Mike)
The Flyers may have fallen short in the playoff race, but the ended the season with a fairly respectable 39/33/10 record. Only Claude Giroux and Valtteri Filppula have to be protected, but the rest were saved because at its core the Flyers have a good team. Steve Mason would have been the goalie of choice, but the 28 year old is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season as is Michael Del Zotto. The Golden Knights would do well to pick both of these up.
Tampa Bay Lightning (Joe)
Stanley Cup Finals. Eastern Conference Game 7. Did not qualify. That is the last three years for the Tampa Bay Lightning, although they were sellers at the deadline and without the services of their captain Steven Stamkos, and Ryan Callahan for most of the year they made it interesting going into the final weekend. Tampa could be one of the teams to make a trade with the Vegas Knights to avoid having a player taken since it will be tough to sign Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin while staying under the cap.